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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2006 > March
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 7, 2006


Deputy Secretary Zoellick to Travel to Belgium and France March 7-10 To Consult with European, African Leaders on Sudan and Darfur

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick will travel March 7-10 to Brussels and Paris to consult with European and African leaders on ways to provide humanitarian and security support to ease the suffering of millions of people in Darfur and Eastern Chad, to strengthen the implementation of the landmark Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan, and to bolster international efforts aimed at bringing peace and stability throughout Sudan.

"Bringing an end to the suffering of millions in Darfur and promoting peace, security and development throughout all of Sudan is an American priority, one we share with Africa, Europe, and the UN," said Mr. Zoellick. "For both Darfur and Sudan, the United States has led the humanitarian efforts, and we’ve worked closely with our African Union and European colleagues to improve the security situation and advance the processes of peace. But no one party can do it alone – Africans must play a key role, the Government of National Unity in Sudan must assume responsibility, and the UN must be active as well. I hope to push for progress on Sudan with key European and African leaders this week in Brussels and Paris."

"The overwhelming proportion of suffering Darfurians we are helping are Muslim women and children," Mr. Zoellick added. "They and the courageous humanitarian organizations and peacekeepers deserve all our support and help."

On March 8 in Brussels, Mr. Zoellick will consult with Secretary General of the Council of the European Union Javier Solana and European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel on Sudan and on other issues where the U.S. and EU are working together. The Deputy Secretary will discuss Sudan with African Union President Alpha Oumar Konare, and will also meet with Sudanese Second Vice President Ali Osman Taha. He will also see NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to discuss NATO’s ongoing and possible future assistance for the African Union Mission in Sudan.

In France March 9-10, the Deputy Secretary will represent the United States at the Sudan Consortium Conference, an event bringing together political, economic, development and civil society leaders from Sudan and its international partners to continue the work begun at the 2005 Oslo Conference. At that conference, the United States committed approximately $1.7 billion over two years in assistance to Sudan. The United States has exceeded that pledge, and plans to provide nearly $2.2 billion in fiscal years 2005-2006, with approximately $1.2 billion of that devoted to Darfur. Apart from his participation in the Paris conference, Mr. Zoellick will hold bilateral discussions with Sudanese First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit, and with other leaders and representatives of the nations and organizations most involved in reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. He will also meet with French officials to discuss Sudan and regional concerns.

"I’m looking forward to attending the Consortium Conference to help highlight the continued U.S. and international support for the historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)," Mr. Zoellick said. "But we cannot consider the CPA without addressing the ongoing crisis in Darfur. Urgent action by the parties to achieve a political agreement is necessary to stop the needless deaths in Darfur and establish stability throughout the country. The peace process in Abuja is moving too slowly for the people of Darfur. The parties need to reenergize their efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement. We support the transition to a UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur and will help strengthen AMIS during the transition period."

Explaining that the transition should be done within the framework of close partnership between the AU and the UN, Mr. Zoellick stressed, "We believe that, to the maximum extent possible, the AU forces in Darfur should be incorporated into the UN mission in which Africans should play a key leadership role."

The CPA, signed on January 9, 2005, ended the 21-year civil war between the Sudanese government in the North and the Southern People’s Liberation Movement. The United States, represented by former Special Envoy Senator Jack Danforth, played the lead international role in achieving this historic agreement. It provides the framework for addressing the grievances of all marginalized regions of Sudan, including the East and Darfur. More than 6,000 peacekeeping troops of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) are already stationed in Southern Sudan. UNMIS has continued to liaise and work closely with the AU mission in Darfur through regular contacts and has supported the AU during its mediation of the peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria.

The United States has stressed to all Sudanese leaders that the violence in Darfur must end before the CPA can be implemented fully and Sudan can begin to enjoy the full economic and diplomatic benefits that stem from it.

Whereas the CPA has helped bring about progress towards peace, reconciliation, and democratic transformation between the North and the South, the violence and atrocities in Darfur continue to block the peace and reconciliation process. A political solution between the Sudanese government and the rebel movements at the Abuja peace talks will provide the only long-term solution to the Darfur crisis. The Chad-Sudan cross-border violence is exacerbating an already dire situation in which more than 220,000 Darfurians have fled to refugee camps in Chad and along the border area and there are 1.8 million internally displaced people in Darfur.

The Deputy Secretary traveled most recently to Sudan last November, where he called upon the Sudanese government, the Sudan Liberation Movement, and the Justice and Equality Movement to "apply themselves to the hard work of peace" on behalf of the people of Sudan. The November trip was Deputy Secretary Zoellick’s 4th to Sudan and Darfur in 2005.

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Released on March 7, 2006

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